Cities of the Plain Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Cities of the Plain.
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Cities of the Plain Summary & Study Guide Description

Cities of the Plain Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy.

John Grady Cole, a Texas cowboy with an almost supernatural gift for training horses, falls in love with a whore from across the border in Mexico. She is guarded by a pimp who has also fallen in love with her, but John Grady, aided by his friend Billy Parham, is determined to get her away and marry her. The results are heroic but equally tragic.

John Grady Cole and Billy Parham work on Mac McGovern's ranch in Texas. While visiting a whore house, John Grady sees a beautiful girl working there, but does not sleep with her.

Billy Parham and Troy go out to visit another ranch run by Troy's brother Elton. They are considering working there instead of with Mac but decide not to.

John Grady goes back to the whorehouse, but the girl, whose name is Magdalena, is not there anymore. After searching all over town he finds out she now works at a place called the White Lake, the most expensive brothel around. He spends almost all the money he has to sleep with her and it is clear he has fallen hopelessly in love. After several more visits, she falls in love with him too and they decide to get married. There is great danger in the task though because the pimp, Eduardo, who runs the White Lake has also fallen in love with the girl. We also find out, though John Grady does not, that the girl is epileptic.

Determined to get Magdalena out, John Grady asks Billy to go to the pimp and find out how much it would cost to "buy" her. The pimp makes it clear that she will never be allowed to leave.

As the months pass John Grady makes preparations to marry. He fixes up a little house in Bell Springs that they can live in. He sells his horse to have enough money to bribe people to help Magdalena get a green card. There are several adventures during this time as well, including a hunt where all the ranch hands track down a pack of wild dogs that have been killing their cattle. Then John Grady and Billy find a litter of wild puppies and John Grady keeps one for himself.

When it is finally time for Magdalena to make her escape she is betrayed and Eduardo's hired fighter Tiburcio murders her. When she does not show up at their meeting place John Grady goes to the morgue where he sees her body. He goes back to the ranch, gets his knife and goes back to the White Lake for a final showdown with Eduardo. He kills the pimp, but only after being cut up so badly that he dies in agony the next morning shortly after Billy finds him.

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This section contains 465 words
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